In Part 3 of our stress series, we’re talking with Julie Longyear, Founder of Blissoma by Irie Star. Blissoma is a line of natural and organic skin solutions, perfect for conscious brides. I was impressed by how affordable they are too – check them out!
OK, in a nutshell, how does stress affect the skin?
One of the immediate effects of stress is that the body moves circulation away from the skin to support the heart and muscle tissues. This affects nutrient delivery and the overall complexion.
Digestion is also compromised so that the body is not going to be getting the hydration, toxin flushing, and nutrition delivery it needs if the stress period is prolonged – this then shows on the skin.
So how can brides implement stress moderation. Easier said than done right?
I recommend that brides implement a stress moderation plan in their daily lives to help prevent what flareups they can ahead of the wedding.
Stretching and deep breathing are tremendous tools - even 15 to 30 minutes of yoga combined with yogic breathing can lower blood pressure, stimulate circulation, and flush toxins from the body. This can short circuit the stress response and keep the flareup from getting worse.
Let’s talk about the dreaded ‘bacne’. Is it a result of stress? Do you recommend the same treatments?
A lot of the causes of body acne are physical stresses as well as potentially the internal stresses. It often occurs under closely fitting clothing where perspiration and repetitive motions are a problem. The trapped heat, sweat, and rubbing are very different from facial conditions, as the face is going to be exposed to fresh air and shouldn’t be rubbed continuously. It can be stress related, especially if there are changes in physical activity and sweat levels as a result of the stress.
Some purely physical treatments for it would be to make sure to wear looser, sweat-absorbing clothing and to bathe regularly.
I’m sure many brides are interested in knowing more about herbal remedies for combating stress. Could you tell us more?
Rhodiola is a great herb for helping the body adjust to periods of stress. Additionally it will not make you sleepy and has actually been shown to increase cognitive function - an added benefit when attempting to remember lots of wedding details! A bath filled with an herb tea and 20 or so drops of essential oil also works wonders – soaking helps moderate blood pressure and since bathing is one of the means of dealing with body acne this is a treatment that would be good for both purposes.
Blissoma makes a Stress Relief Serum that is very helpful as a topical aid. It is a small roll-on that can be carried everywhere - a cooling, concentrated massage oil (organic peppermint essential oil, organic lavender, organic ginger and chamomile CO2 extract) that cools you off and calms you down.
If brides have questions about how herbs might work with their current medications I always recommend they check in with a naturopath to talk about their individual situation as some herbs do have contraindications. Herbal remedies are safe for most people though, and are very effective at what they do.
Can you recommend any effective herbal topical treatments for brides to perfect troubled skin?
Our Smooth Serum has been very, very effective for many people at diminishing and eliminating breakouts.
It is nondrying and does not contain more irritating ingredients like tea tree oil, acids, or benzoyl peroxide. The herbs in it are both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial so it addresses both issues associated with stress acne breakouts. It can be applied multiple times throughout the day and I encourage people to use it frequently when combating a breakout before an event.
Any foods to avoid to improve the skin’s appearance, especially under stress?
One of the big items I would avoid is energy drinks. These are going to tax your body’s energy production and cause potential sleep disturbances, which can compromise skin barrier function.
I would also avoid anything that is not easily digestible for the individual, as stress can already compromise your digestion and you want to deliver the maximum amount of nutrients possible. For most people this would mean avoiding meats and anything very greasy. These really halt your digestion as it takes a long time for fats and meats to break down in the digestive tract. Switching to a largely vegetarian diet or at least as close as possible may be a good measure for many people.
What about foods to include in the diet for skin health?
Quinoa is a wonderful, easily digestible source of fiber and protein that could be subbed for rice or pasta – one of my favorites. Juice blends and smoothies would be fabulous because they are easy to consume, taste great, and are rich sources of vitamins, antioxidants, and other compounds.
Any final advice?
The best plan is to enact a care program ahead of time and work out a preventative skin and physical regimen for overall health.